On January 20, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released the 14th Five-Year Plan for Patent and Trademark Examination (专利和商标审查“十四五”规划). The Plan specifies development goals and indicator to reach by 2025. Of particular note for patent practitioners is the goal to reduce the patent examination cycle from an average of 20 months to 15 months and the potential adding of a preliminary examination for inventiveness in utility models.
One of the development goals includes the rational increase in the number of application as well as an improvement in quality, which is in part to be accomplished by fully cancelling subsidies for both patent application filing and grant (Article 53 of the appendix to the plan).
Further, Article 9 of the appendix indicated that the utility model system will be reformed. As indicated in the draft version of the Examination Guidelines released on August 3, 2021, this may imply adding a preliminary examination for inventiveness to the current preliminary examination for novelty.
In terms of indicators, the average examination time from the effective date of the substantive examination (not filing) of the invention patent application to the first grant decision should be reduced from 20 months to 15 months. In contrast, the USPTO’s total pendency is currently roughly similar at 23.4 months from filing to final decision. The average trial time from the filing date of a patent invalidation case to the closing date will remain steady at 6 months. The average examination time from filing through grant for trademark applications will be reduced from an average of 8 months to 7 months.
In terms of international treaties, the Plan specifies working to join the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs.
The full text is available here: 专利和商标审查“十四五”规划 (Chinese only).